|08-09-2007, 04:45 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Broncos Team Report 8/7/07
For Sporting News
The battle for the starting job at strongside linebacker figures to go until at least the third preseason game. Warrick Holdman, D.D. Lewis and Nate Webster are rotating on a practice-by-practice basis, though a spinal cord concussion suffered by Holdman on Aug. 2 may make it a two-man race, depending on the severity of the injury. Webster may have an early leg up on the competition because of a couple of loud hits early in camp, but his boisterous style also tends to draw attention, while Lewis lacks the flash but is strong fundamentally. ...
Although right tackle and right guard appeared to be open heading into camp, Erik Pears and Chris Kuper have taken every snap with the starters the first week of camp. Continuity is particularly important in Denver's zone-blocking scheme. Kuper has a good feel for C Tom Nalen, having played alongside him at times as a rookie, but free-agent pickup Montrae Holland doesn't. Pears' power game seems best suited on the right side after filling in at left tackle last season for injured Matt Lepsis. And he's been more consistent than veteran Adam Meadows in early practices.
NEWCOMER REPORT: One of the pleasant early surprises has been the play of second-round DE Tim Crowder. He has a sturdy NFL frame and outstanding athleticism. Working behind John Engelberger to start camp, the Texas product has a legitimate chance to eventually work his way into meaningful playing time on run downs in what's expected to be a steady front-four rotation. Crowder also has a quick first step as a pass-rusher but his inclusion in nickel packages is more of an uphill climb until he learns to vary his repertoire more completely.
PROBLEM SPOT: Denver has been thin at the receiver position. Javon Walker, who's been healthy all offseason after knee rehabilitation in his first spring with Denver in 2006, has been a fixture. But the rest of the lineup has been dicey. Rod Smith opened camp on physically unable to perform list, and his absence could run into the season. More surprising was Brandon Marshall's weeklong absence on PUP, and his missed time due to a quadriceps pull was trying Mike Shanahan's patience. Also at various points, the position's depth players have been out, too. It's meant extra snaps for younger players like Domenik Hixon and Brian Clark. The one bright spot has been the showing of Brandon Stokley coming off an Achilles' rupture, although a thigh problem crept up and kept him out of a couple workouts.